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BrandWeek reports on a new study by ad agency The Shelton Group that suggests people are talking the talk when it comes to shopping with environmental priorities, but not necessarily walking the walk.

According to the report, “while half (49%) of respondents said a company's environmental record is important in their purchasing decisions … that number dropped to 21% when consumers were asked if this had actually driven them to choose one product over another. And only 7% could name the product they purchased.” In addition, “The study also asked consumers to name which features a home would need to have before they would consider it green. Four in 10 (42%) said they didn't know, while 28% said solar, 12% said compact fluorescent light bulbs and 10% named Energy Star appliances. Nothing else really registered.”

KC's View:
The cynical will suggest that this means environmentalism is only a fad, to be replaced by something else next week.

But I don’t think so. Furthermore, I think that it leaves open the door for retailers and/or manufacturers that want to really educate their shoppers about making smart buying decisions that will have some environmental impact.

Non-disposable shopping bags are one example. They’ve become quite popular because retailers have a) begun offering them, and b) explained why they are a smart decision. And I suspect that we’ve only seen the beginning of what eventually will be a much bigger and more pervasive trend toward non-disposable bags.

Consumer ignorance is no excuse for avoiding or ignoring this important area. Not only will educating them be good for the environment, but it also can be good for sales.